The Ideal of a Rational Morality collects the most important essays by the distinguished moral philosopher Marcus G. Singer. Its guiding theme is the concept of a morality based in reason, which is presupposed in ordinary moral contexts and provides an ideal for improving ordinary morality and correcting moral judgements. Singer makes compelling claims that certain fundamental presuppositions are inescapable in moral thought, that fundamental moral
principles can be proved, and that the concepts of truth and 'common sense' are essential to ethics.
Subsequent essays proceed to analyse the nature of value judgements and of moral judgements, emphasising the vital importance of certain basic distinctions. There is a discussion of race and racism, presenting new ideas about the nature of both. The relation of law to morality is considered, as are the relations between moral judgements of individual persons and the actions and moral judgements of institutions, leading to an examination of the relations between moral issues and social problems.
A particularly well-known essay on the Golden Rule is reproduced, where Singer's analysis shows it to be applicable and defensible as it stands, and finally the nature of happiness is explored through a discussion of John Stuart Mill's moral philosophy.
Each essay is supplemented by a set of Additional Notes and Comments, with supplementary pieces and response to criticisms. The Ideal of a Rational Morality will be fascinating reading for anybody seeking rigour and clarity in ethical issues.
Preface ; I. The Ideal of a Rational Morality ; II. On Truth in Ethics ; III. Moral Theory and Justification ; IV. The Methods of Justice ; V. Ethics and Common Sense ; VI. Value Judgments and Normative Claims ; VII. Moral Worth and Fundamental Rights ; VIII. On Race and Racism ; IX. Judicial Decisions and Judicial Opinions ; X. Institutional Ethics ; XI. Moral Issues and Social Problems ; XII. The Golden Rule ; XIII. Mill on Happiness and Utility ; Additional Notes, References, and Supplementary Essays ; Index